From where I am seeing things, Chris Broad, the Match Referee in the ongoing Test series between India and Australia, appears to be sitting on his hands on three issues in the Mohali Test match. He probably doesn’t realise that the only thing that he can guarantee by sitting on his fingers is the acquisition of ring marks on his backside!
Before getting to the specific issue, I must say that I was quite shocked to see Chris Broad openly criticise one of the playing officials when the match was still in progress! When commenting about the non-referral of the Sourav Ganguly stumping episode, Chris Broad commented to “The Australian” newspaper, “The policy is for umpires to make as many decisions out on the field as they possibly can. Of course, no one likes to see umpires being criticised, me of all people. Ideally, I would have liked for [Koertzen] to call for the third umpire. But he made his decision with what he saw, and you can’t argue about that. The only thing you can argue about is the fact that it was possibly wrong, in hindsight. But at the time, if you look where he was standing, and the camera from behind him, you would also think he didn’t lift his foot.”
Since when has a match referee started commenting on specific dismissals? Is it appropriate for a match referee to comment on specific dismissals while a Test match is in progress? I’d think not! In my view, this was somewhat inappropriate behaviour on the part of the Match Referee.
However, there are three things that Chris Broad ought to do right away, in my view.
1. Censure Ponting:
I think Chris Broad ought to censure Ricky Ponting for carrying on like a spoilt pork chop when Virender Sehwag was not given out, caught behind by Asad Rauf. I think a wrap on the knuckles and a severe warning will be in order here. As a Team India fan, I hope Chris Broad does not ban Ricky Ponting — although he does deserve one in my view — for, Pontings’ somewhat weird captaincy in this series appears to be benefiting India right at this moment!
On the 4th morning, Asad Rauf did not detect what was a loud nick off the blade of Virender Sehwag off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson. Bowler and ‘keeper Haddin could not believe their eyes, but got on with the job!
This is how Jon Pierik from The Herald Sun reported the events that unfolded:
Ponting’s animated on-field style has been a worry among Cricket Australia officials for some time.
While former skipper Mark Taylor was the master at making his point discreetly, whether to teammates or the umpires, Ponting’s emotions too often spill over.
That was evident in the incident with Lee, and earlier when a caught-behind appeal off Virender Sehwag was knocked back.
A disbelieving Ponting rushed in from mid-wicket with his hands waving about, when he could have just saddled up to umpire Asad Rauf quietly at the end of the over.
Rauf had made a blunder, but Ponting didn’t need to act in the manner he did.
Ponting is a passionate cricketer but, as captain, he must remain composed as often as possible, for that helps to spread calm among his team.
As Australia enters a daunting new era with several raw players, there’s bound to be more days like those experienced in Mohali.
Ponting needs to at least portray that all will be well.
If Ponting cast his mind back even for a second to Sydney this year and remembers a mate of his that went fishing recently, he would not have charged in the direction of Sehwag to converse with him.
2. Censure Matthew Hayden
I wonder why the Match Referee should not censure Matthew Hayden for remonstrating with Indian fielders as he was making his way to the pavilion, after getting out in the 2nd Innings at Mohali.
It is most likely that an Indian fielder enquired about Hayden’s health and said something like, “Enjoy your shower mate” or “Where are you off for dinner?” or something like that! That doesn’t call for an Oscar-award winning show with spread arms and feigned hurt! After all, Hayden’s been dishing it out for as long as one can remember! And, as Mark Nicholas would say, a person that is so used to making his own bed ought to learn how to sleep in it!
I do wish Chris Broad censures Matthew Hayden for the his unsportsmanlike behaviour on getting out. I am not saying that I like players saying sweet nothings to departing players. But I am saying that Matthew Hayden, as one who dishes it out regularly, ought to know how to accept it occasionally when it comes flying back at him! The Oscar-award winning performance was so totally unnecessary and, in my view, brought the game into disrepute.
As I write this, we have learned that Zaheer Khan has been charged! I guess this is to be expected after Matthew Hayden’s Oscar performance.
3. Report Rudi Koertzen
I think Chris Broad has to report Rudi Koertzen. The aging umpire has made one mistake too many in this Test series and, before long, we could have a Bucknor on our hands! I can point the mistakes out, but this has already been chronicled heavily in several blogs and articles. I still feel that Rudi Koertzen has a few years of umpiring in him. But instead of tainting him in public, like he has done this week, Chris Broad could report him to the ICC, ensure that he is looked after through remedial training, coaching and more.
With all of the above going on, I am not sure what the Match Referee is actually paid to do! Will he please step up to the plate and do something about this caper?